What is Blepharitis?
Acute infections of the eyelid, those that flare up with little or no warning, are irritating to your eyelids and can affect your vision. You or someone you know may be experiencing many symptoms: itchy, burning eyes; blurred vision; gritty, granular sensations; oily tears. These conditions can be caused by either blepharitis, a medical term that means “inflammation of the eyelid,” or meibomianitis, “inflammation of the oil-producing glands of the eye,” which can begin in early childhood producing “granulated eyelids,” that could continue throughout life as a chronic condition, or, may develop in later life.
Blepharitis is usually caused by bacteria called Staphylococcus that thrive in excess oil produced by the glands of the eyelid. Sometimes blepharitis accompanies outbreaks of acne. The inflammation may become chronic. The essence of therapy is to prevent the infection from causing chronic symptoms or more serious problems.
How is Blepharitis treated?
Depending on the severity of your symptoms, your doctor may recommend or prescribe any or all of the following therapies:
- Warm or hot, moist compresses applied to the eyes.
- Eyelid cleansing agents. These products are specifically designed to help you clean your eyelids. While eyelid scrub products and hot compresses should not be construed as a cure for infection, both of these actions help to remove debris that has become trapped in the glands and eyelashes.
- The manual expression, (i.e., “squeezing” of excess oil from the oil glands at the edges of the eyelids. Applying hot compresses before the expression usually helps the glands to flow more freely and release trapped bacteria.
- Antibiotic eye drops, to be instilled as your doctor prescribes, may also be used. These may or may not be in combination with a corticosteroid, an anti-inflammatory drug. Sometimes, instead of an antibiotic eye drop, antibiotic topical ointment is prescribed. This ointment should be applied along the edge of the eyelids.
- Oral antibiotics may be used. This treatment is usually reserved for special cases.
It is extremely important to remember that blepharitis can either recur or remain chronic if not treated completely. To help prevent this chronic condition from occurring, be sure to pay close attention to your eyelid-cleansing regimen and to use your medication, if any is prescribed. Good eyelid hygiene procedures can be very important in helping to remove the flaking debris that remains trapped in your lashes or lid areas of your eyes. Preventive eyelid scrub products can help you keep your outer eye clean and help reduce your risk of developing eyelid inflammation.
Prevention is the best medicine. Diagnosis and treatment of blepharitis and other eye abnormalities are best remedied within early stages. Regular eye examinations by your eye doctor are the key to preventive eye health.
Do You Have Blepharitis?
The best way to find out exactly what’s causing your vision problems is to make an appointment with an eye care professional. At The Eye Centers of Racine and Kenosha, we will check your eyes thoroughly to understand the reasons for your vision problems. And we’ll explain your choices for correcting the problems.
Dr. Kanwar A. Singh is a board-certified ophthalmologist and eye surgeon and has been practicing in Racine and Kenosha for over 25 years. He is a Fellow of both the American College of Surgeons and the American Academy of Ophthalmology. His surgical procedures use cutting edge technology to treat eye problems including the latest laser treatment for cataracts.
Here at The Eye Centers of Racine & Kenosha we keep up to date on new research and new treatments. Call 262 637 0500 today! to scheduled your appointment.
Have a question? ASK US
Take your first step toward clearer vision.